South El Monte Mayor Luis Aguiñaga to plead guilty to bribery
As part of a plea agreement, the mayor of South El Monte has agreed to plead guilty to bribery, according to a press release from the United States Attorney's Office. Mayor Luis Aguiñaga was charged with bribery Thursday for accepting money from a contractor doing business with the city and accepting a bribe during an FBI undercover operation.
In the plea agreement filed Thursday, Aguiñaga said that he took bribes from a contractor from 2005 to September 2012. They were initially $500, then rose to $1,000. Aguinaga admitted in his plea to receiving at least $45,000 from the contractor.
"The payments were rewards in connection with the approval of city contracts for the contractor," the release stated.
The contractor is identified in court documents as a confidential witness. The contractor made payments every two to three weeks, according to the release.
"If the contractor failed to pay Aguiñaga within a few days of being paid by the City, Aguiñaga would call and ask for his payment," the release stated.
The contractor left cash in envelopes in a bathroom at South El Monte City Hall or inside the passenger side pocket of a car, according to the plea agreement.
The plea agreement includes a description of a Sept. 12, 2012 meeting that was being monitored by the FBI. The contractor is described as "CW" for "Confidential Witness."Aguiñaga is scheduled to be arraigned on Aug. 10. The charge carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in federal prison.
Read the full plea agreement here:
Correction: An earlier version of this story mischaracterized Aguiñaga's plea. While the plea agreement has been filed, he will not be entering his plea until his arraignment on Aug. 10.